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“The Best Decision We Made On Our Vacation” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Esteban Daily Guided Tours

Esteban Daily Guided Tours
Reserva de Monteverde, Santa Elena 60109, Costa Rica
+506 8685 5982
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Ranked #2 of 14 Attractions in Santa Elena
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Owner description: Nature guided customized tours through the most well known reserves in Monteverde as well as other birding destinations in Costa Rica, book with Esteban you wont go wrong.
Los Angeles, California, United States
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“The Best Decision We Made On Our Vacation”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2013

My mother and I read through Esteban's phenomenal reviews on Trip Advisor and knew that we had to book him for our trip to the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Simply put, Esteban was the single best decision that we made on your first visit to Costa Rica. My mother was very apprehensive about traveling to Central America and Esteban was diligent about responding thoroughly to every single one of her multi-faceted emails. My mother even remarked that he was much more prompt and informative than the concierge at the Four Seasons.

Other reviews have mentioned this, but it cannot be overstated: Esteban speaks PERFECT English. He is 100% fluent in the language and can hold conversations about things as obscure as the shocks on his 4x4. His fluency is a huge asset and really made our trip enjoyable.

Initially, we booked Esteban for two tours during our time in Monteverde, but we became so comfortable with him over the internet that we asked if we could use him for transportation services too. He graciously accepted and was waiting in the lobby of our hotel at Arenal when we came down to check out. His car was impeccably clean and very comfortable for the tough roads to Monteverde. Best of all, Esteban made our 3 hour trek exciting by pointing out interesting landscapes and stopping for exotic bird and animal spottings. He also picked some great places to eat on the way!

In Monteverde, Esteban led us on two tours. The first was a morning tour at the Curi-Cancha reserve. Everyone at the reserve knew Esteban and repeatedly told us that we were lucky to have the best guide in the park. Boy were they right. My mother was dead-set on spotting the Quetzal and Esteban used his well-honed bird calling and tracking skills to lead us right to a beautiful male in a completely random and secluded part of the forest. He has a wonderful relationship with other guides, and was actually able to collaborate with his friend (via cellphone) to maximize our experience. As we were leaving the reserve, we walked past dozens of tourists with their guides camped out at one Quetzal nest, disappointed by a complete lack of activity. I felt so privileged to have such a fantastic guide.

While other tour guides get frustrated and push their guests to move on, Esteban is patient and willing to wait. This proved to be true on our night tour at the Santa Maria reserve when Esteban craned his neck up to the sky in order to let us know when a sleeping sloth would spring into action. Throughout both tours, he was able to miraculously notice things that avoid the normal eye (even in the dark!). His dedication and hard work really made our experiences incredible.

When it was time for us to leave Monteverde, Esteban drove us up to the Four Seasons. Saying goodbye to Esteban was the hardest part of our vacation. He is the most honest and sincere man I have ever met on a vacation. During your trip to Costa Rica, use Esteban for every possible aspect of your experience. It will be the best travel decision you've made in a long time.

Visited May 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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101 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Amazing guide!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2013

After only seeing the Quetzal for a brief second at Curi-Cancha (which is a really, really great reserve!), I wanted to try my luck at another reserve, so we headed to Monteverde. I highly recommend going with a guide no matter which park you go to because you will learn so much more about the surroundings and have a better chance at finding the elusive birds. Our hotel arranged the trip for us, so we didn't know who our guide would be until we got there. Man did really luck out! Our guide was Esteban Mendez Vargas (phone: 506-8685-5982; email: mendezguia@hotmail.com). Esteban spoke great English and had and amazing eye and ear for birds. I really enjoyed our tour with him. He found us 2 Quetzals and numerous other birds. He is very knowledgeable about the animals and plants, plus fun to hang out with for the day. I like hiking and nature in general, but I can't say I was really all that into birds. I just wanted to see the famed bird of Costa Rica since we were there. But Estaban changed that. He was so enthusiastic and made it all so interesting that I gained a greater appreciation for birding all together. Thank you Estaban for making our trip so wonderful!

Visited April 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“FAVORITE PART OF OUR TRIP!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 26, 2013

Esteban is the best, hands down! If you are looking for an experienced guide who cares about his clients, this is your man. He was able to spot and tell us about so many different types of animals, and it was certainly the highlight of our trip. He was our guide for a morning walk of the Curi-Cancha Wildlife Refuge. He was also able to tell us about the other places we were visiting during our time in Costa Rica and gave recommendations of what to do in those places.

During our morning tour we saw a Quetzal (which kept reappearing during our walk!), a deer, hummingbirds, bell birds, motmot birds, and so many different types of animals! He said we were very lucky that morning, but I think that he is part of that luck!

Esteban is also aware of cultural and pop references, and was making us laugh around each bend with what he was saying! It was great to have someone who was able to communicate and relate to us through our 3 hour morning tour.

Overall, if you are looking for a private tour guide or to do a tour with a professional, funny, and experienced local, Esteban is who you should go with!

Visited May 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois, United States
1 review
“Excellent Guide”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2013

I contacted Esteban after reading the many great reviews found here on Tripadvisor and after having a first hand experience I'm so glad that I chose him as my guide. I did a Natural History tour with him at the Monteverde Cloud Forest that spanded a good 2 to 3 hours of expert knowledge. This man knows his stuff and his passion is easily pereceived, especially in the realm of birds. He was able to capture some amazing shots of the infamous Quetzal bird during our tour, which I am very grateful for. Anybody who decides to go to Monteverde and has a passion for nature should consider Esteban as their guide.

Visited May 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bayside, New York
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
138 helpful votes 138 helpful votes
“Best bird guide ever!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2013

We have been on two week-long trips with Esteban and plan to return for more trips. Esteban is a licensed guide with a degree in ornithology. He knows all the birds of Costa Rica and more importantly, where and how to find and see them. He knows and researches all the songs of the birds that might be seen in a given location, and when he hears one, works tirelessly to track it down so we can see it. His enthusiasm for birds is contagious and he makes everyone excited about birds, even beginners. He is always friendly and courteous and is an excellent and safe driver. Whether for a day in Monteverde or a week traveling around Costa Rica, there is no better bird guide to be found.

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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